What demonic factory do some of these teachers come from?

A comeback player who was experiencing extreme difficulty was referred to me by one of my students. When he came to me, he told a story about an injury many years ago that he credited with his problems. He demonstrated a range from low C to first-space F with tone so poor that it was sometimes a challenge to determine what pitch he was playing. I found that he was incredibly tense, had a smile embouchure, and was so severely pulled back that he had nothing to manipulate in or around the mouthpiece.

He had desire to play music and we went to work, using some BE and other exercises I would write for him. I'm tickled to tell you that he can now play from low-F# to above the staff and is enjoying playing tunes. We're truly on our way.

He recently moved far away and we'll work together only occasionally now. He sent me a note reporting that he sat in with the local college band. It had a small trumpet section, including the teacher. He took a mini-lesson from the trumpet teacher who told him his tone was a little airy. He told him this was because his embouchure was too far forward and that he should pull back on the corners to thin out the lips and flatten his chin.


Alan Dean, Trumpet Herald post, 8-26-12

He could already do the exercises...

"I have a personal horn playing friend and mentor, who has the most amazing chops on the planet. He's played free lance professional for many years, but chose not to pursue a full time music career. He's studied with some high level professionals who have admitted to envying his ability to play well beyond the normal range of the instrument with a beautiful tone effortlessly, w/o any need for resetting or such.

Anyway, when I introduced BE to him, he read the book, tried the exercises and shrugged it off like it was nothing new. He said that's the way he's ALWAYS played. I didn't believe him so I made an appointment with him to go through the exercises one by one. Sure enough, he executed every single exercise -- LCS, ROs, RIs, TOL, etc. -- perfectly the first time, down to the finest detail. Now that's what I would call a naturally balanced embouchure. He doesn't need BE, but I can't help but wondering what would happen if he ever did use it."

Valerie Wells

She deserved better...

"Many years ago, I worked with a 13-year-old student. She was a weak player. But even worse, she had no self-esteem, as both of her parents were drug addicts, forcing her to live with her grandparents.

I showed her some BE stuff, and she quickly adapted to bunching the chin, as it worked for her very well. In short order, she was first chair. She began to beam, as the trumpet was her ticket to coming out of her shell.

She was about to move up to high school, and the HS director came over to audition the new kids. I stood outside the room as she played easily up to G top of staff, with a great tone. She nailed the audition, and walked out with a big smile.

As the director came out, I said "How did it go?" "She played good," he muttered, "but we have to do something about that chin."

On several levels, I was just stunned. The magnitude of his ignorance..."

Jeff Smiley

More to come...